Canuck Junk

Getting ready for July 1st.  Polishing up my Canuck Pride.

Canada Day 2016 2

This is the antique window my uncle rescued for me from his friend and client, Herda.Graniteware Garden

I needed a Canada Day (July 1st for my American pals) porch greeting – and quick. So I just printed off the words, taped the pages in place on the back side of the window and then used black and red Sharpies to trace the lettering onto the window.

The Maple Leaf I drew by hand (obviously – lol).


This antique doll comes from the East Coast of Canada. The clothing (including the sou’wester hat) is traditional fisherman attire. The red hair – well, our maritimes are heavily populated with the descendants of Irish immigrants.



Upcycled Tabletop Dinner Warmer

Ever have one of those wonderfully intimate meals where the conversation is as scrumptious as the entrée and the last thing you want is to be dashing back into the kitchen for seconds…  but you also don’t want to put a chill on that hot conversation with food gone cold.

  Last autumn I rescued this table lamp from a neighbour’s curb. The glass shade was nowhere to be seen (probably in the glass recycling bin in pieces).  The shade support held great promise, however.

It became a sweet cake stand/server at an  autumn tea.

Recently, though, while enjoying one of those great intimate dinner chats that you hate to tear yourself away from, I saw further purpose for this baby.

I had my nextdoor neighbor (a retired electrician) remove the electrical parts of the lamp.







and I cut off the cord at the bottom, which could then be pulled through the top.






I put a short pillar candle where the lightbulb had been, lit it and put a baking dish in place of the lamp shade.


Would work fabulously to keep pizza or rolls warm – and I would bet a short soup or stew pot would be a great success, too.

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Butter Churn Planter

The delicate, translucent trumpet-shaped flowers of the perennial morning glory (aka bindweed or creeping jenny) are deceptive. This non-native plant is considered an extremely hardy scourge here in the Fraser Valley, where aggressive root systems can crisscross a farm field in the blink of an eye and reach depths of 15-20 feet.

A former neighbor used to turn over his lawn, pour gasoline on the roots and try to kill the roots by burning them. (In areas with cold winters they aren’t a problem – the deep cold kills them off).

Knowing this, I still love having them in the garden. Love seeing the flowers close at dusk and burst open with first sun.

So I do the same thing with these that I do with other aggressive self-propagating plants like Feverfew, Mint and Lemon Balm. I grow them in containers and try to cut back before they seed.

When my uncle bought this reproduction butter churn, its depth had promise as a home for a deep-rooted plant. So I planted it up for him and it now provides a cheerful greeting at the entrance to his antique warehouse.












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Faerie Garden

Truth be told I have  avoided the whole Faerie Garden craze. But when I found a perfect condition little glass faerie on a neighbour’s recycling bin I thought I would give one a try and then offer the faerie as a free giveaway.

This tree fungus seemed the perfect backdrop. If  you are interested in the glass faerie, leave me a comment saying so. On June 15th I will randomly draw one name

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Child’s Play

Don’t you just love arriving for a party to find a specially decorated porch or entrance? I do.

I learned to do this as a fundraiser at BC’s Children’s Hospital Foundation. We hosted donor stewardship events for the biggest (wealthiest) donors, and it was always a priority to make the reception area beautifu

But with house parties, hosts and hostesses are usually up to their backsides getting the inside of the house cleaned and decorated.

I’ve discovered that creating a greeting porch/station is a very welcome gift I can give to my hosts. And if you use props you already own this job can be fast and virtually free. Your real gift is your time and creativity.

When a friend’s youngest turned three, I pulled together (and borrowed one of the rocking chairs) some antique children’s furniture and décor. All the plants were from the garden, so there was no cash expense.


AiJ followers will be familiar with this seatless antique Canadian pine child’s rocker. I use a kitchen strainer as a planter. I got it from a curbside “Free” box a couple of years ago. It’s perfect for the purpose.

I borrowed this scroll wood child’s rocker and added a large teddy bear (a curbside rescue from a couple of years ago – I reserve it for outdoor decorating.











I pulled a planter from another location and added the Garden Angel I made last week.




and an antique doll I’ve had for 20 years…




It’s a weekend. No mail delivery so the mailbox gets pulled into action, too.


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Garden Angel


Expecting company on Sunday, so I want to sharpen up the outdoors décor a little.  At Christmas I made some spindle angels as gifts.  I will probably put this one away for next Christmas, but it’s going to debut as a porch ornament in the meantime.

Garden Angel

The total cost was about 1o cents. One side of a broken picture frame and a chair spindle, both of which were curbside rescues. The head is a cookie cutter I’ve had for years and never used.

The bling is junk that I rescued from broken things.

The only cost was the bit of paint and glue.

Spindle Angel

Soon it became a pretty add.ition to a porch planter

Child’s Play

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vintage charm button 2





River’s Edge Vintage Garden

Surrey BoysIn my last post I wrote about the group of kids who grew up together in North Surrey in the aftermath of WWII.

The flush of prosperity that the rest of North America experienced in the late 1940s passed over North Surrey for some reason. Until the kids were old enough to drive they  entertained themselves fishing, swimming, learning box and to smoke cigarettes and getting into mischief along the banks of the Fraser River.

The bond they formed was quite something. Any one of them would risk his own life for another. And so it was in the summer of 1947 when a group of them were playing on the bank of the Fraser River my mother did what all of the kids were strictly forbidden to do. She went out onto a log boom and – as she had been warned countless times – slipped between two logs.

She couldn’t swim and had never learned to hold her breath under water. I would not be here today  had my “Uncle” Joe not ignored his own safety and raced across the logs to where my mother fell through. The only sign of her was a clump of wet hair stuck to the side of a log and Uncle Joe grabbed it and pulled my mom to safety. Even though she couldn’t swim my mother might have been able to pull herself to the edge of the log boom and get her head above water. But the lump of wet hair that was used to save her life held her in place beneath the water and she would surely have drowned had it not been for Uncle Joe’s heroics.

Because of the community’s economic struggles many of the kids went to work exceptionally young. Uncle Joe was just 14 years old when he borrowed money from his parents and bought his first commercial fishing boat and licence. He also helped out with the boat launch yard his family owned on the bank of the Fraser River.

About 20 years ago Uncle Joe tore down an old shack on the boat launch yard and built himself a beautiful bungalow with huge windows along the sides of the house  overlooking the Fraser River. I have spent many evenings there watching the harbor seals crest and the eagles and shore birds hunt.

Last weekend I was down at Uncle Joe’s place and was charmed by the lovely garden he has created and filled with vintage charm.

The antique mangle isn’t just decorative. It is still put to use wringing out towels and blankets that come off the boats wet.

antique mangle








  Another antique still in use is the large antique winch is used to wind up the garden hose.







A small but working antique lighthouse perched in the rock garden.


An antique wood duck decoy floats around the rock pond.









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